Reviewing the Top 10 Prospect Lists: AL West

After a short break to help cover the trade deadline, we’re back taking a look at the pre-season Top 10 lists for all the MLB organizations. Previously, we looked at the National League. The American League is up now and the review begins with the West Division.

Texas Rangers
1. Jurickson Profar, SS
2. Martin Perez, LHP
3. Tanner Scheppers,
4. Robbie Erlin, LHP
5. Michael Kirkman, LHP
6. Mike Olt, 3B
7. Robbie Ross, LHP
8. Jake Skole, OF
9. Luis Sardinas, SS
10. Neil Ramirez, RHP

The Top 10 list has a bit of a different look now than it did at the beginning of the 2011 season. Erlin was sent to San Diego during the recent MLB Trade Deadline (along with Joe Weiland, who was a solid contender to make my 2012 list). I’m pretty proud of this Texas Rangers list for a few reasons. Firstly, I identified Ramirez as a solid talent and he moved quickly through the system this year. Both Baseball America and Kevin Goldstein left him off their lists, but John Sickels and Keith Law also saw the potential. I also ranked Profar ahead of Perez, a decision that was not widely adopted amongst other analysts. Profar, just 18, has an .895 OPS and more walks than strikeouts in A-ball. I was the only analyst who left Engel Beltre off the Top 10 (both Keith Law and Goldestein ranked him as high as fourth based on his impressive tools) and he has a .602 OPS in double-A.

Los Angeles Angels
1. Mike Trout, OF
2. Jean Segura, 2B
3. Tyler Chatwood, RHP
4. Hank Conger, C
5. Jordan Walden, RHP
6. Kaleb Cowart, 3B
7. Garrett Richards, RHP
8. Mark Trumbo, 1B
9. Cam Bedrosian, RHP
10. Fabio Martinez, RHP

Trout has struggled a bit in the Majors but he remains an impact talent. The organization will see a huge overhaul in its Top 10 list for 2012 because Trout is just one of a handful of prospects that have graduated to the Majors. Chatwood, Conger, Walden and Trumbo have all lost their prospect eligibility. Segura has played well when healthy but he’s battled injuries and only appeared in 37 games. Bedrosian’s first full pro season was wiped out by Tommy John surgery. Cowart has had a very nice offensive season in Rookie Ball but he’s struggled defensively at the hot corner.

Oakland Athletics
1. Grant Green, SS/OF
2. Chris Carter, 1B
3. Michael Choice, OF
4. Jemile Weeks, 2B
5. Max Stassi, C
6. Ian Krol, LHP
7. Yordy Cabrera, SS
8. Michael Taylor, OF
9. Rashun Dixon, OF
10. Chad Lewis, 3B/1B

Green hasn’t produced the same kind of offensive performance that he did in the potent California League in 2010, but he’s been solid this year. A move to the outfield from shortstop – where he was merely adequate – could really help his value. Choice, though, has been the big mover in 2011 and could be the top prospect in the system when the 2012 lists are released this winter. He’s slugged 27 homers in 95 games, but remember that this is the same league that inflated Green’s power numbers. I took a big swing and missed with Dixon, expecting his athleticism to continue to develop into solid baseball skills with the help of the California League. I was wrong. I also expected a quicker transition to pro ball for Lewis, but he’s struggled. I took a lot of heat at the time for omitting Stephen Parker from the Top 10 list, as he appeared on Law’s, Goldstein’s and Sickel’s list) but his numbers appear to have been inflated by the California League. He now looks more like a quad-A player or big league back-up.

Seattle Mariners
1. Michael Pineda, RHP
2. Dustin Ackley, 2B
3. Nick Franklin, SS
4. Taijuan Walker, RHP
5. Guillermo Pimentel, OF
6. Mauricio Robles, LHP
7. Johermyn Chavez, OF
8. Kyle Seager, 3B
9. Dan Cortes, RHP
10. Blake Beavan, RHP

Ranking Mariners prospects is always easier when you can bend the ear of Dave Cameron. The one-through-four ranking looks very solid in hindsight. Pineda has been even better than I expected when I ranked him No. 1 overall. Ackley has also made a very quick adjustment to the Majors. Beavan clawed his way onto my Top 10 list (and on Goldstein’s) and the decision looks wise. He produced solid big league numbers in four starts even if his ceiling is that of a No. 4 starter. One name you can expect to see on the 2012 Top 10 list is James Paxton. The Canadian pitcher has been a very fast mover in the system during the 2011 season.

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

32 Responses to “Reviewing the Top 10 Prospect Lists: AL West”

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  1. ian says:


    Where would you rank Chris Carter, given his disappointing 2011 campaign?

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  2. SF 55 for life says:

    Man you almost never hear a prospect guru say he/she was wrong. Major kudos Marc.

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  3. Ira says:

    Despite trading Erlin and Weiland, I think the Rangers system has actually gotten better since the beginning of 2011. Profar and Perez have lived up to their billings. Neil Ramirez has impressed, and they added Leonys Martin, who looks like the centerfielder of the future starting very soon. Beltre’s been down, and Olt’s been hurt, but Barret Loux has looked good, Cody Buckel has been very good, Robby Ross has been very very good, on the offensive side, Jorge Alfar seems to be able to hit, Rougned Odor is hitting .300 as a 17 year old in SS ball, and Jacob Skole is doing very well.

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  4. ecp says:

    Trout hasn’t really graduated to the majors…he went back to AA today. Not enough time or ABs to lose his eligibility, and September call-ups don’t count. Unless you won’t consider a player who has ANY major league service time at all, I don’t know how his short foray to the bigs is going to affect the Angels 2012 top 10.

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  5. maguro says:

    Green is 23 and a below average hitter in AA, how does moving off SS to the OF help his value again? Is he supposed to be a gold glove CF type?

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    • brendan says:

      this. I don’t know why people think he is going to have defensive value in CF, when he’s been an SS exclusively thru college and the minors. I don’t recall him having plus speed, which is now de rigeur in the majors to have good range in center. If he ends up a corner, his bat may not measure up.

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  6. monkey says:

    “Ackley has adjusted well…”

    Haha, I think you can safely call that an understatement considering he’s easily the best hitter, on the Mariners.

    Ackley’s hitting over .300 and showing terrific plate discipline, gap power, and even a little home run pop.
    Playing strong defense too.
    If Pineda weren’t such a stud, I’d disagree with ranking Ackley behind him, as it is I’d say Pineda and Ackley are #1a and #1b.

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    • Pat says:

      The fact that he’s the best hitter on the Mariners does not make him a good hitter. That’s like saying the fact he’d be the seventh best hitter on the Red Sox makes him a bad pitcher. It’s all relative.

      He’s good, but I think the ineptitude around him makes his shine seem even brighter.

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  7. mkd says:

    Insert Ackley’s wOBA (390) into the Red Sox lineup and he’d actually be their fifth best hitter behind Gonzalez (422), Pedroia (399), Ellsbury (396) and Ortiz (396). I think this says more about how crazy awesome the Red Sox lineup is than it does about how we should view Ackley.

    To put this another way, Ackley’s 390 wOBA would not just make him the best hitter on the Mariners, but the best hitter on 20 of the 32 teams in MLB. Thus, “Ackley has adjusted well” is indeed an obvious understatement.

    The kid is a great hitter and would be shiny and bright no matter where he went.

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    • the tourist says:

      How would Ackley’s wOBA change (if at all) if he were playing half of his games in Fenway instead of Safeco?

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    • Ronin says:

      Well North Carolina and the third New York team are both expansion teams so maybe we should just go with he would be the best hitter on 20 of the established 30 mlb teams.

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  8. Will says:

    Mariners prospects have exceeded expectations this season. Pineda seems to be the clear-cut frontrunner for RotY honors and Ackley is already the best hitter in the organization. Walker has also surprised me this year. I think the consensus is that he is the best prospect in our minors system. Paxton has been a pleasant surprise as well, and he may start for the Mariners as early as next year.

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    • the tourist says:

      Jeremy Hellickson tends to disagree with your proclamation of Michael Pineda being a clear-cut front-runner for RotY honors.

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      • dnc says:

        You have to be joking right? Hellickson has 2 more walks and 54 less K’s in a 7 1/3 fewer innings.

        By Fangraphs WAR Pineda is up 2.6 to 1.0.

        Ackley is better competition for for ROY than Hellickson is.

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      • the tourist says:

        But I suspect the voters will be looking at Wins and ERA.

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      • CMC_Stags says:

        Like they did when they gave Felix the Cy Young last year?

        Voters are going to look at the best rookie. Rookies with more than 1.0 WAR right now – Ackley, Reddick, Trumbo, Pineda, Ogando, Britton, Walden.

        Hellickson’s not even close.

        Traditional voters would prefer Ogando over Hellickson anyway. Ogando’s team is going to the playoffs, he has a better record (10-5 instead of 10-7), more IP, more K, fewer BB, lower ERA.

        So your arguement is pretty much done before it starts.

        If the AL RoY is a pitcher it’s going to be Ogando or Pineda. Hellickson’s not even in the conversation.

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      • the tourist says:

        I am pretty sure Ogando isn’t a rookie. Also, Felix’s win last year probably had a lot more to do with his ERA, K’s, and IP than his WAR. Not that that’s how it should be. Then again, it probably won’t be a pitcher at all. It will probably be Trumbo. Anyway, I should have probably just said the BBWAA tends to disagree and made a list of names with better traditional stats than Pineda. Either way, he’s not a “clear-cut frontrunner”.

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  9. Slats says:

    Trayvon Robinson should be in Seattle’s top 10.

    He’s a better prospect at this stage then Robles, Seager and Cortes.

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  10. Marc Hulet says:

    The way I see it there isn’t much point in dwelling on what I did wrong as the Internet trolls are always happy to point out the misses for me :P. I also like to think I’m accurate or at least make defensible choices more than I’m wrong. Prospect analysis is not easy given all the variables which is why you see so few people attempting to do it for all 30 clubs.

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    • maguro says:

      I don’t see any trollish comments here. If you don’t want anyone to disagree with you, just turn the comments off on your posts.

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    • cs3 says:

      see now this i like.
      I have no problem with stating when youre right, especially when you come right out and tell us why.

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  11. Marc Hulet says:

    It wasn’t meant to refer to this thread at all. The comments have all been solid.

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  12. #mimbo says:

    I’m happy to see Dan Cortes has found a niche in this post-MTV Sports world (nightmare?) we live in. My question now: Is he Rock or Jock when it comes to softball?

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  13. Rex says:

    Will we see Vinnie Catricala make the list for Seattle in ’12?

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  14. maqman says:

    That’s up to Vinnie.

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